Some separator manufacturers have raised concerns about the impact of homogenizers on separator efficiency. They argue that homogenizers may compromise the separator's ability to remove substances denser than water and hinder water removal capabilities.
In essence, centrifuges and filters are engineered to eliminate water and inorganic impurities from fuel, with the expectation that all organic fuel components will be burned in the engine rather than being expelled into the slop tank. The role of a homogenizer is to ensure that less than one percent of purchased fuel becomes waste by reducing the size and mass of fuel droplets. This, in turn, enables centrifuges and filters to more effectively eliminate inorganic contaminants present in fresh fuel.
While refineries have made significant strides in reducing the presence of contaminants such as cat-fines in today's Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), safeguarding engines remains a paramount concern. IPCO Power's homogenizers play a pivotal role in this endeavor by minimizing the size and mass of fuel droplets, thus enhancing the efficiency of centrifuges and filters. Within IPCO Power's homogenizer, fuel passes through a 300-micron gap between the homogenizer stator and rotor, spinning at 3000 RPM to create fluid shearing.
The sludge discharged from the fuel separator typically comprises three distinct components:
1. Inorganic debris with higher density than water
2. Organic material (fuel) with a higher density than water
The proportions of these components vary depending on the fuel's condition, quality, and the type, make, and settings of the fuel separator.
FRAS Technology has confirmed that a homogenizer has no impact on the quantity and sizes of hard (inorganic) particles in the fuel.
CIMAC has published a report comparing particle size distribution and particle count with and without the use of a homogenizer before the centrifuge. The findings in the CIMAC report suggest a 4-6% enhancement in particle removal efficiency when utilizing a homogenizer/separator combination instead of relying solely on a separator.
IPCO Power conducted extensive research on separator removal efficiency through onboard installations. Bunker samples were analyzed before and after the separator, both with and without the homogenizer in operation. The results demonstrated that with the homogenizer in operation, the separator's removal capacity significantly improved. At the same time a sludge reduction between the 50 and 80% was achieved.
Any reduction in separator efficiency would become apparent relatively quickly. IPCO Power is proud to report that all homogenizers installed since 2006 have consistently met and exceeded customer expectations. Over the years, our equipment has consistently delivered the performance our customer’s demand.
IPCO Power is open to addressing any questions you may have and is eager to provide additional information upon request.
Bart Sluimer is the General Manager of IPCO Power. IPCO Power is an international company specialized in environmental solutions for the petrochemical-, shipping- and power industry. Find us on google+ and twitter